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Van of the Year 2021: Best Small Van
The Peugeot Partner is a great all-rounder that's comes with competitive running costs, as well as standing out from rivals because of its smart, driver-orientated interior...
WINNER: Best Small Van
Priced from £18,980 MPG 49.5-53.1mpg CO2 emissions 149-174g/km Load space 3.3-3.8m3 Payload 650-1000kg Power 75-129bhp Torque 151-221lb ft
The Peugeot Partner may use exactly the same underpinnings as the Citroën Berlingo, Toyota Proace City and Vauxhall Combo and be built to near-identical dimensions, but it shades all three in these awards thanks to its bespoke interior, where its designers have had the freedom to unleash some ingenious solutions that make a subtle but significant difference.
The Partner’s so-called i-Cockpit interior layout is the key, because it elevates the small van into something unique in the light commercial vehicle sector. The layout, materials and modern dashboard tech on offer may not – as claimed – make the Partner feel sporty, but they undoubtedly make it feel like it has been built around the driver, and special as a result.
Of course, all this is underpinned by a package that is exceptional in many ways, principally standing out for its clever application of the front half of a car body for the driver and passenger and a van rear end for class-leading load-carrying capability, all of which earn it our Best for Practicality award too.
The economical engine options, with the choice of a 1.2-litre petrol or 1.5-litre diesel that will return more than 50mpg, also impress. And while it loses out to the Ford Transit Connect in our Best to Drive category, the Partner is exceptionally good on the road, being both comfortable and reassuring. Over long journeys, it is notably comfortable.
To paraphrase Animal Farm, many co-developed vans are created equally, but some are more equal than others. All of these vans are strong, but we prefer the Partner and think you will too.
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